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Resources for Researchers and PhD Students

As a researcher you can get overwhelmed by the volume of information that is easily reachable through the Internet. The problem is trying to maintain academic and scientific excellence and efficient working when faced with the tsunami of information. Although modern technology has brought us seemingly infinite information, we can also use technology to filter, organise and efficiently work with all that information. Hopefully, this practical list of resources will be useful to others performing academic, scientific and industrial research, particularly in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects. The resources in this article have a UK bias due to the location of the author. To suggest additions to the lists send an email, dan@tekeye.uk

Magnifying Glass

Tip: For University researchers, do not forget to use the resources provided by your academic institute, especially the library. The University wants you to do well as it means they do well. Your academic institute or research organisation are normally very supportive and have programs in place to help researchers, not only through the library, but can include a Doctoral College and a dedicated research office.

List of Resources for Researchers

Information Retrieval

Long established engineering organisations have easy to search archives. Though membership of the organisation through your academic library or personal membership is usually required to read the articles or PDFs (though some are moving to Open Access), examples include:

Here are some other sources for finding research papers and articles:

A web tool that could be very helpful is Connected Papers. This allows you to enter a paper and it produces a graph structure showing related papers, it may improve you efficiency when performing literature reviews.

If you require a subject specific database, then Wikipedia has a list of academic databases and search engines.

Organising Tools

In-depth research requires discipline and organisation for efficient results, and reduced stress. Software tools can be a great help. Try a few tools to see which ones seem intuitive to use for your research work.

Access to citable data sets is increasingly important as science addresses the need for reproducibilty of results in published research.

Helpful Tools

Likewise, MathDeck is an online service to help understand and find mathematical formulae. You can compose a formula by hand, or using LaTeX, to get help on a mathematical formula and mathematical symbols.

Writing Tools

The grind of writing can be helped with these tools.

  • Overleaf for online LaTeX editing, document creation and collaboration. There is a list of advantages to using LaTeX instead of a wordprocessor, such as Microsoft Word, in this article.
  • Grammarly writing assistant does a lot more than a normal spelling and grammar checker.
  • Use PaperRater to spot grammatical errors prior to submission and publishing.

Low Cost Open Access Journals for Paper Publishing

This list of resources is for mainly for STEM researchers looking for low cost Open Access publishing routes. Appearance in this list is not an endorsement, please satisfy yourself that the publication is of sufficient quality for your paper (see the section on Assessing for Research Impact).

Open Access

Many institutions and early career researchers cannot afford to pay the high Article Processing Charges (APC) of a journal. In some cases paying an APC allows for a paper to be published Open Access, therefore available for free to everyone. Open Access publishing is increasingly required for higher research ratings, as it is seen to be helping spread scientific knowledge, especially to impoverished countries.

Some of the more wealthy institutions have programs available to help pay the APC. Some research projects will allow the research funds to be used for an APC. There are many considerations, MDPI AG have a useful page on Funding of APCs. If you cannot afford to pay the APC then try and find a sponsor who will (e.g. a company associated with the research project). The alternative is to publish without Open Access so that the journal recovers costs by charging for access to the article. See Inderscience as an example of an organisation that provides free publishing for restricted access or Open Access for an APC.

If you do not publish under Open Access at least ensure that the terms and conditions allow you to host a version of the paper in your University's online repository, or on your personal website or blog. Most publishers are moving to this model as they realise that the movement to open up research to a larger audience needs this requirement. To help determine if that option is supported by the paper publisher try the RoMEO service.

Warning: There are publishing organisations that do not adhere to high academic standards, make sure you avoid predatory open access publishing.

To help find a Journal to publish your research as Open Access try:

To learn more about Open Access:

To publish your work as an Open Access book take a look at Open Book Publishers or unglue.it.

General Article Publishing

Your work may also benefit from writing general articles and blog posts. Also try:

Don't forget how easy it is to publish on your own blog or website. If you do, ensure that the article meta-data is suitable for academic indexing according to the Google Scholar Inclusion Guidelines for Webmasters.

Publicising Research, Networking and Collaborating

Accessing Expensive Test Equipment and Facilities

Research may require the use of costly facilities and equipment that are not available within your institution. Accessing other equipment and facilities is another advantage of building up a network of research contacts. Your network may be able to help you overcome hurdles in finding facilities and equipment.

Other resources for facilities and equipment are available:

Assessing for Research Impact

Expanding Your Knowledge

  • Developing as a researcher, support from Vitae.
  • MIT OpenCourseWare, need to brush up on a new knowledge area.
  • Khan Academy, another source of useful courses to expand your knowledge, e.g. improving English grammar or your knowledge on statistics.
  • Duolingo, learn another language.
  • Dodona, need to get up to speed with computer programming, try Dodona from Ghent University.
  • The Programming Historian has useful articles for non-programmers who need to process data with digital tools.
  • Wikibooks have free online books on various topics.

Presenting Your Work and Research Achievements

Other Useful Links

See Also

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